The luxury car symbolizes wealth and social status, and perhaps the ultimate projection of masculinity — think Formula 1. This is no coincidence: it has evolved to appeal to super-rich men, who account for 90% of individuals with a net worth above $1 million. But change is stirring. Sliding out of the passenger seat and into the driver’s seat, a growing proportion of high-net-worth women are becoming luxury and exotic car enthusiasts. As their clientele evolves – and so do their needs and expectations – how are luxury car brands trying to appeal to these affluent individuals? One way is hiring smart women.
Not your typical car salesperson, Tina Fuentes is an Audi Brand Specialist — a dynamite asset at Audi Henderson. Knowing the luxury vehicle market, Tina works closely with her clients to select the right vehicle for them. Tina is the only female Brand Specialist at the Audi dealership in Henderson and agrees that it takes a strong motivated woman to flourish in a male dominated industry. Tina has been involved in the luxury automobile business for over 5 years.
Her dedication to learning about the high-end market required her to study hard and gain a wealth of information about the higher end luxury vehicles Audi Henderson primarily sells – Audi and Lamborghini – and competitors’ vehicles. Tina has sold Mercedes, Cadillac, and today upscale Audi, Lamborghini, and other high-end luxury and exotic automobiles. Real Vegas recently caught up with Tina to talk about the luxury and exotic car business from a woman’s perspective.
What do you like about being in sales at a dealership?
I enjoy interacting with people customers and my colleagues. Our GM, Petar Apostolov, has built an amazing team who get along well. We focus on helping each other so we can give our customers top notch service. Petar has developed a rich customer satisfaction driven dealership culture which rewards teamwork.
In the US, what percentage of purchasing power of high-end exotic vehicles do women account for?
Women make up half the population. And because women are marrying later in life or remaining single, there are more women independently deciding to buy cars which creates a significant opening for sellers to meet women’s needs. Over 62% of all new cars sold in the United States are bought by women according to Cars.com which also found that women “influence” over 85% of all car purchases.
Historically, women were considered the “practical car shopper.” But things are changing. Women buy exotic vehicles less than men, but that’s changing. A recent survey by caranddriver.com indicates that 37.9% of compact luxury cars are purchased by women, 28.4% of mid-size luxury cars are purchased by women, and 22.5% of large luxury cars are purchased by women. However, over 47% of compact luxury SUVs are purchased by women and 38.8% of mid-size luxury SUVs are purchased by women. These numbers don’t surprise me because women frequently have more practical concerns: How much cargo space is available? How comfortable are the seats? Are seat warmers available? Is the vehicle safe? Is the vehicle reliable over the long haul? Audi offers vehicles that meet these needs and that’s why over 40% of Audi owners are female. Audi engineers amazing cars and offers enough options to meet the needs of different women. For example, the Q3 SUV got a redesign after 2019. Women accounted for over 65% of Q3 sales. Women are important to Audi which constantly seeks feedback from its buyers including women buyers. Women have inspired Audi engineers to rethinks parts of the vehicles like adjustable head rests, seat belts, door handles, and run-flat tires.
Do you believe men and women differ in what they’re looking for in their salesperson?
I do. Understanding your customer is important to the car buying experience. Men and women differ in what they’re looking for in their salesperson. Men, who are less likely to trust a salesperson, are more interested in their personal attributes as a way of building a bond with them. Women are less skeptical
of salespeople and instead value a salesperson’s experience and expertise. While women and men approach car shopping differently, the end result is the same: driving off the dealership lot with a car that meets all their needs.
Describe your favorite things about working as an Audi Brand Specialist at Audi Henderson and the enjoyment you get from your position.
Placing someone in a car they want and have worked hard to purchase is satisfying because I enjoy meeting new people and endeavor to make my customers friends and friends my customers.